Study Highlights Lack of Truck Stops in Canada

OTTAWA — Results from a Transport Canada study on rest stops in Canada is pointing to what many drivers and companies already know: there isn’t that many, service is lacking, and security and safety is a concern.

The study, titled Rest Area Research Project, was prepared by Polytechnique Montreal in consultation with the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA). The lack of rest stops, CTA noted, affects driver behaviour and can cause drivers to run over their allowable hours-of-service.

Over 60 percent of truck drivers surveyed said they routinely have trouble finding parking or places to rest while operating in Canada. An overwhelming majority said that facilities and basic amentities are lacking from public rest areas and service centres across the country.

Northern Ontario, Southern B.C., stretches of Alberta, and most large urban areas were the geographical locations cited as the worst areas.

Forty-nine percent of drivers reported going beyond their planned location to find parking, sometimes causing them to go over their available driving hours. Drivers, CTA noted, indicated they wanted more flexibility on regulations when they can’t find parking. Forty-two percent of drivers said they have been told by an enforcement officer to move from a non-designated parking space.

In total, 88 percent of drivers surveyed said there are not enough rest areas, roadside pullouts and turnouts, or safe havens to safely perform inspections.

“The most popular ad-hoc parking locations,” CTA said, “are industrial properties, followed by shopping mall parking lots, vacant lots, roadside pullouts and weigh stations.”

Service Lacking

The majority of drivers reported that telephones, washrooms, adequate lighting and drinking water are lacking. They cited a need for more public centres equipped with cell phone service in remote areas, food service, showers and Internet. Over 40 percent of drivers also report that the operability of card lock outlets was unacceptable.

Eighty-seven per cent of drivers say they are willing to pay for showers, but not parking unless there is better security at the location (28 percent). Seventy percent of drivers say they will pay up to $30 per night for the services.

Problem to Worsen

As truck traffic flows and general demand in trucking operations increases, the problem is only to get worse, according to a supplementary Transport Canada report titled Environmental Scan of Truck Stop Needs at Rest Areas. Add to that increases in truck sizes — LCVs (long combination vehicles) — which have decreased the amount of available space.

The report recommended the following strategies:

• Construction of additional truck parking spaces, where needed and financially feasible;

• The development of national-level guidelines for the spacing and design of public truck parking facilities;

• The use of ITS technologies to provide real-time information about the location and availability of truck parking spaces;

• Development of public-private partnerships to share or reduce facility construction and maintenance costs, as well as cost-effective options to redesign and rehabilitate existing facilities;

• Addressing truck stop and driver security concerns.

You can download both reports here and here.

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